Thursday, 22 February 2018

My four misconceptions about giving up alcohol

This week I passed the 50 day alcohol-free mark.  I'm not really counting days because I prefer the idea of looking ahead rather than getting fixated on numbers, but I do have a sobriety app that I check from time to time - and I was ever so slightly smug to see that more than 50 days had gone by.  In my 'Goodbye letter to alcohol' I outlined some of the things that scared me about giving up alcohol so I thought I would revisit them 50 days in....

I’m scared my husband won’t want to be with a teetotal wife having married a lush

My husband's initial reaction to me stopping drinking was not 100% positive - probably not helped by the fact that I didn't tell him in person, he read about it on my blog - oops!  He expressed concern that we would lead separate lives and I wouldn't want to go out any more.  His worry hit a nerve, as my fear was that I wouldn't want to spend as much time in bars and that he wouldn't like the sober version of me, and we ran the risk of drifting apart.  So far though, I think my lifestyle change has benefited us both and brought us closer together as a result.  My husband has definitely been drinking less and been leading a healthier, more active life - maybe partly because I am subliminally guilting him into doing so, and partly because I'm not there to support the 'just one more' reasoning any more.

I think our relationship has improved too as a result of me not being consumed by self-hate and shame post-drinking, which I would inevitably take out on him. Don't get me wrong, I'm still pretty moody - I had hoped that would disappear, but sadly not - but I'm not overwhelmed by negative feelings that erupt out of me like an enraged rottweiler.

I’m scared friends will find me boring

I have discovered since going alcohol-free that I am actually rather sensible, calm, restrained and in control.  None of these adjectives could have been applied to me after a bottle of wine and some cocktails.  I am still nervous that friends will get bored of this new sensible me. 

Having said that, I also have to remind myself about the drunk version of me who would often pass the fun, carefree, relaxed stage and morph into a slurring, shambolic, sometimes angry, discombobulated mess.  If my friends could tolerate that version of me, I'm hopeful that they can accept sensible me.  Perhaps over time, I will grow more comfortable with my alcohol-free self and find it easier to let my hair down and make a dick of myself again!

I’m scared I’ll never have the confidence to dance on a table or belt out karaoke again

OK, so I still haven't had the confidence to dance on a table, however I was forced to sing karaoke to a room full of people at a Chinese New Year party.  I honestly never ever thought I would be able to do that sober, but it appears I can - albeit, fairly tunelessly.  Here's the proof... prepare your ear plugs before turning up the volume!

Watch the video here... you know you want to!

I’m scared no one will choose to hang out with me

Over the past 50 days I have been lucky enough to have been invited to lots of events and parties, from dinners and (alcohol-free) drinks with friends, to gala dinners,  Chinese New Year parties, to hen parties, birthday parties and weddings.  So I guess I haven't become a social outcast quite yet.  

I have discovered that I am very comfortable going to dinners or events where I am sitting down around a table and where food is involved.  However, the anxiety levels definitely rise when I know the event will involve just standing around, chatting and drinking.  I'm already feeling very apprehensive about a hen party in a couple of month's time - not because I'm scared I'll be tempted to drink - but because an event like that typically hinges on drinking and games and activities that require you to 'let go'.  As the sober me is sensible and restrained, I know I am going to struggle to blend in.

To date, I am relieved that most of my fears have been unfounded and I am really proud with how far I have come in just 50 alcohol-free days, although I know I still have quite some way to go.  I look forward to a time where I can truly cut loose and relax without being propped up by booze. I am sure it will be possible, I'm just not there yet.

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